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Old 02-03-2013, 05:42 PM   #1
woodpryan
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Tuning problems related to neck warp?

I have a Dean Performer E Electric Acoustic, which I purchased in 2004. She seems to be having some very annoying trouble with tuning lately, and I noticed something else recently as well, which I will get to.
So, here's the scenario: I tune my guitar using an electric tuner. Maybe the low e or the high e doesn't sound quite perfect to my ear, so I go to tune it by ear using the fifth fret method. I start from the top (low e) and work my way down, realizing as I go from one string to the next that each successive string is more and more out of tune. I think, jeez, it really didn't sound this bad when I strummed a chord. I get to the bottom. I start again at the top, and each string sounds perfectly in tune. I play a chord that makes use of all six strings (say a g), and it sounds atrocious. I go to tune again, but to my ear using the fifth fret method it sounds fine. Is it possible that the neck is somewhat warped, and that is what is causing this?
Here's another thing that has recently been pissing me off, and I wonder if it might be due to the same thing. It happens mostly when I'm playing standing up with a strap, but sometimes sitting down as well. The high e string will randomly get caught under the fret around the twelfth fret. I have to pull it up to get it off of there. Obviously, these frets must be sticking out a bit in a way that they probably should not be. Could this be another warped neck indicator? What do you all think? Thanks

Ryan
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Old 02-04-2013, 04:23 AM   #2
Captaincranky
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Join Date: Sep 2011
First, I absolutely trust a tuner more than my ear. But, sometimes the tuners are a bit "mushy" around the center note. In other words while the tuner is indicating the note is dead on, it still may be slightly off, and just need a little tweak.

Frets backing out of the board, is more likely an indicator of the wood in the guitar being too dry, rather than the neck being warped.

The tuners could need to have the "lash" adjusted. (The little phillips screw in the middle of the key, could be a bit loose). If the screw is very easy to turn, and feels like there is no resistance to it being turned, a little turn toward tighten until you feel a very slight resistance, would possibly help the guitar to stay in tune. It would be better if you got help from a guitar tech if this is the first time you're going to try this.

The, "intonation" of your guitar could be off, by virtue of the action being to high. If the strings are too far above the fret board, it causes them to change pitch more than they should when a note is fretted.

Attending to the humidity levels in your home should be first thing you deal with. If you're getting a lot of static shocks this time of year, it means the humidity is way too low for musical instruments.

Your Dean is likely all or part laminated. Instruments of this type are less sensitive to low humidity than all solid wood guitars, but they aren't immune.

As for the rest of it, if you're not certain about how to check and fix the things we've discussed, I'd suggest you get with a tech. I would be better to spend a few bucks, than to make matters worse on your own.
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Old 02-06-2013, 05:23 AM   #3
Prescott_Player
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Join Date: Jul 2012
First of all, tune all the strings using the tuner. Get them very accurately tuned, then check your intonation. It's easy... just begin to fret each string, one fret at a time, and note the result on the tuner. If each successive note is exactly right, that's wonderful... but, if you see some of the strings going off as you fret them, then clearly intonation is an issue.

Things like compensated saddles and even "fan frets" were developed in an effort to reduce intonation problems. I use rather light strings, and that might be the cause of the minor intonation problems I have, but since I have arthritus I have to stick with the light strings. What happens is that my A and G strings go a bit sharp as I fret them. So, what I do is to tune them just a bit flat, to compensate, and divide the problem more evenly between the open and fretted string, if you will. That seems to sound the best, so although it's not perfect, it works pretty good. Perhaps you can find a compromise setting like I did.

Of course if the strings are high, that could be the issue and you ought to fix that... but my strings are already extremely low, and I have a compensated saddle, so the only thing left to do is to make the tuning compromise that I mentioned.

Cheers !

Jean

Last edited by Prescott_Player : 02-06-2013 at 05:32 AM.
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